Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
For over three decades on the concert stage, the members of the Grammy® Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity among guitar ensembles, while perennially redefining themselves in their musical explorations. Popularly known as the LAGQ, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, is recognized as one of America’s premier instrumental ensembles. As one of the most charismatic groups performing today, their critically acclaimed transcriptions of concert masterworks provide a fresh look at the music of the past, while their interpretations of works from the contemporary and world-music realms continually break new ground.
The LAGQ has given recitals in many of the world’s top venues, including Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, Tokyo Opera City, and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. They have toured extensively in Europe and Asia, where they were featured at the Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila International Arts Festivals and recently made highly successful debuts in China and Australia.
The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet kicked off their 2016-17 season with a tour ofGermany. Performances throughout the season continue to span the United States, bringing them to Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachussetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Premiere performances of a new work by guitar legend Pat Metheny, commissioned specifically for them begin in October at Denver’s Newman Center and continue into the 2017-18 season. They bring the electric Rodrigo “Concierto Andaluz” to the Waco Symphony Orchestra and, for the holidays they reprise their beloved “Nutcracker Suite” on subscription and family concerts in San Francisco. Continuing to grow the repertoire for guitar quartet and guitar orchestra, the LAGQ will premiere a new work written by composer and longtime LAGQ member, Andrew York, throughout Arizona in April 2017 and plans to reprise this project in the Washington DC area the following month.
Among last season’s highlights are a collaboration with Dweezil Zappa on a new work at the Crown of the Continent Festival in Montana, a reprise of their “Night of Spanish Romance” collaborative program with mezzo-soprano Janelle DeStefano and L.A. Flamenco to capacity crowds, and a tour the Baltics.
Additional highlights include LAGQ’s role as Artistic Directors of the 2015 Laguna Beach Music Festival. As the focal point of the festival, they treated audiences to four days of performances, outreach activities and celebrations including: a joint concert with the LA Percussion Quartet, in which the combined octet premiered a new work by composer Jeff Holmes, a “Latin Romance” Valentine’s program with flamenco dancers plus a vocalist, and a closing performance of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote: Words and Music from the Time of Cervantes” with guest artist, Firesign Theatre veteran and voiceover actor, Phil Proctor. This last work was captured live at St Louis’ historic Sheldon Theater and released on DVD in March 2012. This multi-disciplinary project was originally developed and premiered in collaboration with the British actor John Cleese in Santa Barbara.
Recent seasons have focused on many works written specifically for them including “Interchange,” the concerto written for them by Sergio Assad, and “SHIKI: Seasons of Japan,” a work written for them along with Guitar Orchestra. The world-premiere performance of “SHIKI” took place as part of an extended residency in Loudoun County (VA) a few days after the one-year anniversary of the Japanese earthquake. Since the premiere in 2012, this work, inspired by and dedicated to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, has been performed in numerous communities throughout the United States. Pushing boundaries once again, the LAGQ participated in the ground breaking 2015 premiere of “How Little You Are” for voices and guitars, by Nico Muhly, one of today’s most sought after composers. The works was hosted by Texas Performing Arts in partnership with the Austin Classical Guitar Society and Conspirare.
The Telarc release of “Interchange,” marked the LAGQ’s first recording of concertos by Rodrigo and Assad. “Interchange for Guitar Quartet and Orchestra,” the concerto written specifically for these four virtuosi by Brazilian composer and guitar master, Sergio Assad and featured on the Telarc CD, received a Latin Grammy® nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. “Interchange” premiered at the Southwest Guitar Festival with the San Antonio Symphony in 2010 and was later recorded with the Delaware Symphony and Music Director David Amado, along with the Rodrigo “Concierto Andaluz”. Performing the work at the composer’s official centenary in Spain at the invitation of his daughter, for a “Live with the Boston Pops” television feature, and to a crowd of thousands at the Hollywood Bowl, are especially memorable events. Members of the Quartet also performed and recorded two works of Osvaldo Golijov with the Atlanta Symphony in Atlanta and at the Ojai(CA) and Ravinia(IL) Festivals.
The LAGQ’s CD, “Guitar Heroes,” released on Telarc, won the group their first Grammy Award in 2005. It is a heartfelt salute to the great players who inspired the quartet, as individuals and as a group. It has received raves for its unique ability capture the feeling and fervor of diverse musical styles such as jazz, bluegrass, rock and flamenco. In November 2008, this recording joined those by artists such as the Who, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits on Sound and Visions “Top 10 Surround Discs of All Time”. Their first Telarc CD, “LAGQ – Latin,” features their popular transcription of Bizet’s Carmen, along with works from Chile, Cuba and some new original works by members of the quartet. This CD, which has received raves from listeners and critics alike, received a 2003 Grammy nomination and the Super Audio CD (SACD) version won the award for “Best Made for Surround” at the 1st Annual Surround Music Awards. The LAGQ’s release, “SPIN” (Telarc, 2006), shows yet again that the group is equally at home in a wide variety of musical genres and also features several commissioned works from their recent collaboration with percussionist Colin Currie. LAGQ-Brazil (Telarc, 2007) continues to receive raves and includes performances with singing sensation Luciana Souza. The LAGQ’s “Interchange” CD (Telarc, March 2010) features their long-awaited recording of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto Andaluz” and the premiere recording of Sergio Assad’s “Interchange” with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. The DVD of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote” (March 2012) appears on the Mel Bay Artist Series, along with their first live-concert DVD. Their newest recording, entitled “New Renaissance,” released in March 2015 is a modern take on classic works. It includes long-awaited instrumental works from “Music from the Time of Cervantes”, and new works by Bogdanovic and Krouse, among others.